Facial recognition technology developed at Univ. of Bridgeport could help keep schools safe

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BRIDGEPORT --  Many innovative businesses were nurtured by the University of Bridgeport's hi-tech business incubator, including one that is a partnership between the University and a company that specializes in digital forensics, which is coming together at the right time.

Be it at schools or businesses, improved response times by first responders is paramount. The developers of FaceChecks facial recognition software believe they can help.

"It's a hi-tech company that specializes in providing biometrics and algorithms and software for automatic detection and matching of faces," said Dr. Tarek Sobh, the Dean of the UB's School of Engineering.

The university has been developing the technology for over a decade and it offers precision.

"Even though this image was taken when she was like, I think, six-years-old and this was taken when she was in high school," said Dr. Ausif Mahmood, Chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, as he demonstrated the software.

The technology works with both still pictures and video and it computes how confident each identification is on a scale of 0 to 100.

"So, we have a threshold," Mahmood said. "If it is above 25 percent, then typically it’s the same person. Otherwise, it’s not the same."

The University of Bridgeport started using the technology in its dormitories.

"The value of this emerging technology is to develop tools that will stop the threat at the front door," said George Estrada, VP of Facilities at UB.
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And FaceChecks is also developing a partner technology to monitor social media activity.

"In most cases, when there is a tragedy, there is a track record on social media," noted Estrada.

In addition to pitching to schools and colleges nationwide, over the next couple of weeks, FaceChecks will begin partnering with the City of Bridgeport, including the police department, implementing both facial and object recognition technology.